MANAGER Danny Wilson wants his faltering Sheffield United side to come out fighting when they travel to Notts County this weekend.
Since Boxing Day, the Blades have picked up just one point from three League One matches and have slipped to fourth in the division.
Back-to-back defeats to Hartlepool United and Yeovil Town at Bramall Lane have severely dented their automatic promotion hopes and Wilson’s troops now trail joint leaders Tranmere Rovers and Doncaster Rovers by six points with 19 matches left.
Injuries to key defenders Neill Collins and Matt Hill have compounded Wilson’s problems, forcing the United chief to dip into the transfer market to capture Danny Higginbotham.
Wilson is acutely aware United were “too open” defensively against Yeovil as a second-half double from Paddy Madden helped the Glovers move up to eighth in the standings. He felt they sorely missed “three of four” of their injured players.
Nonetheless, Wilson has challenged his depleted team to triumph in the face of adversity over the coming months as they look to kick-start their promotion push.
He insisted: “We are still in a good position. Let’s roll our sleeves up and give it [promotion] a darn good go. The ultimate aim at the end of the season remains the same.”
Wilson has to decide whether to keep faith with George Long, a graduate of the club’s youth system, in between the sticks or hand a start to former Welsh international Danny Coyne. Teenager Long gifted Madden his second goal as United suffered only their fourth loss of the season.
Wilson, who turned to Long after Mark Howard sustained a serious injury, said: “George has been fantastic and I am confident he will learn from his mistake.”